Tanzania Trip Report

Charleen Ratcliff

04 Aug 2014

Travelling Tanzania, by Charleen Ratcliff

Each of these places are special in their own right: Lake Manyara a microcosm eco site, with forests, plains, lakes, mountains and was perhaps my most favourite place on this 10 day trip, even if I didn’t see the Tree climbing lions!

Tarangire is big, full of all sorts of animals and flora and where we spotted a leopard taking a snooze in a tree, and where we were charged by a mother elephant protecting her baby, who couldn’t care less about us.

The Crater – what can one say? This is a very special place; we left the Lodge to arrive at 0730 and there were no traffic queues, no waiting at the entrance gate. Making the descent, almost to the floor of the crater, we saw a lioness and her pride who had just killed and eaten most of a zebra and were dragging it back to the rest of the pride who were hiding. We saw so much wildlife; rhinos, more lions, elephants, birds, jackals giving a spiritual feeling of being in the centre of this universe in the crater. The second leg of the trip was the Northwest Serengeti – the Mara River and the Great Migration; staying at Sayari Camp. Sayari Camp is glamping at its best; wonderful food, accommodation to die for plus every night we could listen to the zebra, gazelle and others munching outside our tent. Superb guiding here too!

Yes, it is like the wildlife documentaries. Absolutely amazing to find yourself sitting in a vehicle in the middle of thousands of wildebeests and zebras. When we arrived, during our transfer from the airport we were able to witness a crossing of several thousand wildebeest, which turned into a traffic jam as we heard elephants trumpeting in the distance. The next moment all the wildebeests start heading back to cross the river to get away from the elephants. There were cheetahs, and lion cubs, birds, giraffes – little ones – plus a lone rhino in the sunset. 

During our hot air balloon ride, Mike, the operator, kept us flying low, just over the treetops, gliding over the herds of elephants, wildebeest, zebras, hippos in the river, crocodiles – a splash of NWS magic and something I highly recommend!” “The third leg of the trip was to Namiri Plains in Central Serengeti. Will understood that my passion is big cats, especially cheetah and suggested this brand new Asilia tented camp site. This area had been closed for over 20 years to reintroduce cheetahs, so naturally I jumped at the chance to stay here. This is a wonderful site with no neighbours so like having your own private game reserve, full of cheetahs, lions, old tuskers,birds, giraffes, jackals and a new favourite of mine, the bat eared fox! Highly recommended for the location, guiding, food, accommodation and staff dedication to your well being. 

Driving in from the airport (about 1 1/2 hours), we came across a rock outcrop upon which a lion was sleeping. Unfortunately it wasn’t possible to get a good shot of him but Blessed, our guide, saw another young male, on a rock at the waterhole. We stopped and parked to take some photos and as we were taking shots, we saw the sleeping lion come down off the rock and start slowing walking towards the waterhole and the young male.  

All of a sudden, this big, mature male charges after the young male – who takes off running – and from the long grasses at the waterhole, a lioness appears and runs off with the young male. The big male chases them, then, as if from nowhere, behind the truck come two more big mature males, trotting in pursuit of the young male and his lioness We followed them for about 10 minutes, then the two males, just stopped – they had reached the edge of their territory, and slowly disappeared into the tall grasses and the darkening sky. Blessed told us later that these were three of the four killers – so named by National Geographic several years ago because when they came into establish their territory, they decimated the existing lion population, and are now mating with their established prides in their territory. An incredible, intense experience part of which I captured on video.

So, was it a good trip? No, it was a great trip and I thank NWS for making it happen!

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The accommodation

Charleen stayed at the following accommodation during her safari:

Plantation Lodge

Sayari Camp

Namiri Plains

The Safari

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